I’ve written before about Apprenda, a company I’ve followed since I started blogging. Their company blog (sadly somewhat silent of late) was one of the early places for vendor thought-leadership around PaaS in particular.

I was stoked to hear from CEO and co-founder Sinclair Schuller the other day that Apprenda had just secured a $5 million investment round led by New Enterprise Associates, the same company that has invested in Salesforce.com, WebEx, Juniper Networks and XenSource. I spoke with Jesse Kliza, business development guy for Apprenda to see what it means for the company.

I put it to Jesse that, given our previous discussion around the traction they were seeing for their private software delivery cloud offerings, that this was a real endorsement for the private model and a tacit admission that a major growth area going forwards will be in the enablement of enterprises moving their software to SaaS, but behind the firewall. Jesse agreed and referenced a quote from Tom Grossi, Principal at funder NEA; “We believe SaaSGrid addresses a tremendous need in the market, enabling the efficient deployment of SaaS offerings and private software delivery clouds”.

Jesse and I discussed the careful messaging job that needs to occur here. As noted previously, Apprenda has moved form it’s previous habit of describing itself as a PaaS provider – it doesn’t want to be labeled as a vendor who just “enables building a simple application with no code”. That’s not what SaaS grid is about and so they’re beginning to message the added value that SaaS grid brings, architectural, scalability, baked in multi-tenancy and the like.

The funding will be used to keep building the team – both development staff but also sales and marketing positions. Jesse was pleased to report that Apprenda’s customer traction was so great this past year that the funding round was not a necessity – the money however will allow them to scale the business more rapidly than through organic means.

It’s a great endorsement for both Apprenda in particular and the more general “private SaaS” market. While the dogmatic types among us cringe at the thought of private SaaS – there’s a huge demand for it that Apprenda is hoping to satisfy.

While I was talking to the Apprenda team, we started talking about cloud interoperability and portability. In particular we discussed in relation to a recent post of mine where I discussed the contention that some people make that cloud computing will spell the end for the traditional SaaS players. Interestingly enough Isaac Garcia, CEO of Central Desktop took the opposing view, saying that;

At Central Desktop we run on our own private multi-tenant SaaS platform. Essentially, our private cloud. Over the years, we’ve continued to evaluate Clouds as an option for delivering point services to our customers – but the economics havn’t (sic) justified a switch. What is often overlooked by SaaS pundits is the fact that connecting to a Cloud very often reduces (sometimes eliminates) key features that a private SaaS vendor can provide.

Jesse from Apprenda pointed out that the “traditional” SaaS players begin to fail. They generally run in only the vendor’s data centers, not across public and private clouds and as such they are unable to take advantage of cloud computing.

SaaSGrid on the other hand finds a real “best of both worlds” approach to all of this. They allow companies to leverage any compute resources whether they be private (internal data centers, etc) or public (EC2, RackSpace, etc) and creates a single software delivery fabric out of them.  A use case Jesse gave was with a company writing custom routing strategies to, for example, “send all of X applications services to the cheapest provider”, or “send all of Y applications services to only our internal resources”.  That’s a pretty powerful offering but there are advantages beyond specificity with routing. Because SaaSGrid is resilient, it can route services wherever based on availability and the custom routing strategies defined – a great failover mechanism.

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Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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